Global journeymen: Re-inventing Japanese craftsman spirit in Hong Kong

Reijiro Aoyama

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Global era capitalism provides new cultural and economic opportunities to profit from heritage, especially for those producers who generate highly valued products whose consumption is an indicator of refined taste, as is the case with the Japanese style services in Hong Kong. The productions of the Japanese service professionals in Hong Kong symbolize the promise of sophistication and cosmopolitanism for local consumers. Japanese chefs, bartenders, hairstylists, etc. use group-specific values and concepts such as ‘selfless’ hospitality (omotenashi) and craftsman spirit (shokunin kishitsu) to construct and market their services as cultural productions. The conceptualization of the Japanese heritage conceived by these service professionals inadvertently aligns them with the Japanese government’s ‘Cool Japan’ campaign. However, their common efforts are not as much an expression of cultural nationalism as a market-driven attempt to convert so called Japanese values into a commodity and transform Japan into a brand in and of itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalAsian anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Authenticity
  • Craftsmen
  • Hong Kong identity
  • Japanese hospitality
  • Service professionals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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